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Honest, Officer, it's my own money


If Kip Mandris gets his name in the paper, it's usually because he has been nibbling canapes at some charity gala. For the most part, it's not because the former Baltimore Ad Club president and current PR consultant has been spotted outside a bank with wads of cash stuffed in his shirt, one of them spewing red ink all over him. Well, that's about to change.

Mandris cops to this much: A couple months back, he looked all the world like a guy who'd just held up Ed Hale's bank on East Joppa Road. But he swears he hasn't taken up a new line of work - the type that would get him booted off the Social Register. All he was doing that day was getting operating cash - along with his PR business, he owns The Brass Monkey Saloon in Fells Point - from the bank. He doesn't want me to print how much money he was taking out. Let's just say it was enough to stuff down his shirt for safekeeping.

"I get in the car and something starts smelling and I said, 'Oh my God!' I just had the car in the shop." He thought his car is on fire - until he looked down.

"They've given me a robbery pack!" he concluded. "I was drenched in red ink."

Then it was Mandris' turn to give somebody else a scare. As he walked back toward the bank, Mandris said a guy spotted him in the parking lot, assumed he was a foiled bank robber, and started running away - right into the busy intersection, where he was nearly hit. People inside the branch were next to get a jolt.

"I walked in all smoky and they all looked at each other," he said. "They got me in a back room and replaced the money and washed me off."

Did the bank do anything else for him?

"I got a note from somebody," said Mandris. He added, with no prompting on my part: "No. I'm not taking any legal action."

Get in on it: Get zipped

You'll never guess the subject of a Baltimore City Council committee hearing today. Hint: The resolution that called for the hearing is titled, "Has the Time Come for Baltimore to Get Zipped Up Tight?"

I'm not kidding. That's the official name of Council Bill 06-0124R. With that unhelpful hint in mind, give it your best shot. The hearing will explore whether Baltimoreans are ready to:

A) Abstain from sex

B) Stop snitching

C) Share automobiles

The answer is C. The resolution invited representatives of Zipcar - a commercial car-sharing service - to this afternoon's land use and transportation committee hearing to discuss whether the service might work in Baltimore. (Zipcar was the only company named in the bill and invited to the hearing, but the city says it's also talking to a competitor, Flexcar.)

Council President Sheila Dixon called for the hearing after seeing a TV report about Zipcar in Washington, her office said. The idea is to cut down on the number of cars on city streets and help city-dwellers who only need occasional use of a car to get one without the rigamarole and expense of a traditional rental. (With car-sharing services, people pick up the cars and drop them off in their own neighborhoods, and pay by the hour.)

Dixon, by the way, didn't name the resolution. That was the handiwork of what one City Hall wag calls the "frustrated ad men" in the Department of Legislative Reference.

3:22:01: RLE wads up schedule, shoots for basket

And you thought today's soccer-playing, piano-playing, play-date-playing suburban superkids were overscheduled. How do you think Bob Ehrlich feels? Check out the "Event Fact Sheet" produced for the Cabinet meeting the governor held in Harford County this week.

"2 p.m.: RLE arrives at Armory with the band playing outside to welcome him.

"2:06-2:08: RLE enters Armory and choir sings. RLE thanks the choir, calls the meeting to order and recognizes Bel Air Mayor Terence Hanley. Mayor Hanley makes brief remarks.

"2:08-209: RLE recognizes Harford County Executive David Craig who welcomes the Governor and his Cabinet and introduces VIP (not by name) and makes short remarks."

And on and on until 3:20-3:22, when "RLE thanks all and adjourns Cabinet Meeting."

Connect the dots

Custom car tags tend to be boastful. They don't call them vanity plates for nothing. But who would pay extra to put themselves down? Ask the owner of the white Ford spotted the other day by The Sun's Larry Carson in the Howard County government lot in Ellicott City. The plate said: "PINHEAD." ... A Republican asks if there's a preposition missing in the newest TV ad in the governor's race. The spot concludes with, "Martin O'Malley - Governor." ... A political convergence at Paul's Restaurant in Arbutus yesterday: Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith, on his way out after lunch, bumped into Robert Ehrlich Sr., on his way in, wearing a T-shirt touting his son, the Guv. My spies say they exchanged bipartisan hellos and shook hands.

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